Napoli say the club’s now-deleted social media post was not intended to mock Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen.
The TikTok post, which was subsequently deleted, showed Osimhen failing to score his spot-kick in the Serie A match with a high-pitched voice saying “gimme penalty please,” sparking a furious reaction from Roberto Calenda. Calenda, Osimhen’s agent had threatened legal action against Napoli after the video was published.
“(It is) A serious fact that causes very serious damage to the player and adds to the treatment that the boy is suffering in the last period between media trials and fake news,” he tweeted. “We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.”
But Napoli say the club did not intend any harm.
“Calcio Napoli, wishing to avoid any exploitation of the issue, point out that we never wanted to offend or mock Victor Osimhen, who is a treasure of this club,” a Thursday statement read.
“As proof of that, during the summer training retreat, the Club firmly rebuffed every offer that was received for the striker’s transfer abroad.
“Social media, in particular, TikTok, has always used an expressive form of language with a light heart and creativity, without wanting to, as in the case with Osimhen as a protagonist, have any intention of insult or derision.
“In any case, if Victor perceived any offence towards him, this was not what the club intended”.
‘Employing Diplomatic Avenues’
In the wake of the development, Osimhen who led the club to their first Scuddeto in three decades, deleted all Napoli-related posts on his Instagram account.
In the summer, the Nigerian who became an icon in Naples for his exploits, was a target for Manchester United and other clubs. But the Italian side turned down moves for the striker.
On Thursday, the Minister of Sports Development John Enoh expressed reservations over the matter.
“My office is trying to reach Victor Osimhen directly as well to understand first-hand the issues. We are committed to establishing the facts of the matter,” he wrote on his X account.
“Meanwhile, I am in touch with the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, and the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Italy, Ambassador Mfawa Abam.
“Together, we are employing diplomatic avenues with Italy for a more proper approach to looking into the matter as it is.”